Prime Minister Boris Johnson was back on his feet in his recovery from COVID-19 on Friday as Britain recorded its deadliest day yet in the coronavirus pandemic, with 980 more deaths taking the country's overall toll to nearly 9,000, reports Reuters.
The rise in deaths, which even exceeded the deadliest day reported so far in Italy, the country worst hit by the virus, comes as the government told Britons to obey a lockdown and resist going out in the spring sunshine over Easter.
"However warm the weather, however tempting your local beach or park, we need everyone to stay at home because in hospitals across the country NHS staff are battling day and night to keep desperately sick people breathing," Health Minister Matt Hancock told a news conference.
One person the National Health Service (NHS) is treating is Prime Minister Johnson, who emerged from three nights of intensive care on Thursday after entering hospital on Sunday as his symptoms of COVID-19 persisted.
The prime minister, 55, who needed oxygen support, was now able to take short walks between periods of rest, as part of the his recovery, which his office said was at an early stage.
"I was told he was waving his thanks to all of the nurses and doctors he saw as he was moved from the intensive care unit back to the ward," his spokesman said. "The hospital said that he was in extremely good spirits last night."
Johnson was the first world leader to be hospitalised with the coronavirus, forcing him to hand control to foreign minister Dominic Raab just as Britain's coronavirus outbreak worsened drastically.
PM "MUST REST"
While Johnson's condition was improving, it was unclear how long he would be incapacitated.
"He must rest up," his father, Stanley Johnson, told BBC radio. "You cannot walk away from this and go straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment."
Hancock said Raab had done an "excellent job" in Johnson's stead. "The good news is that the government in his absence has been functioning very efficiently, very effectively," he said.
In Johnson's absence, ministers' top priority is considering if and when it can end the lockdown which has so far been in place for three weeks.
The four-day Easter break began on Friday with bright sunshine, and authorities warned they were on the lookout for those breaking a ban on social gatherings or venturing out without good reason.
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